Fujitsu & Liz Claiborne

Fresh on the heels of a recent system-wide software upgrade decision, New York-based Liz Claiborne Inc. looks to roll out next-generation, point-of-sale hardware and a managed infrastructure services agreement with Fujitsu Transaction Solutions Inc. Fujitsu will begin outfitting the company’s 300-plus, multi-brand portfolio of U.S. retail locations in a deal that includes hardware, staging, integration, installation and maintenance for more than 1,000 Fujitsu TeamPoS 2000 systems in April.

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Concord Tweaking

Concord EFS has made a change in its accounting process that has no effect on reported operating income, net income, or cash flows but does show better overall margins. The accounting change for signature-based debit card interchange, in response to “EITF 02-16,” requires certain amounts received from vendors to be accounted for as a reduction of the cost of products or services purchased. Therefore, signature debit interchange fees are now presented as a reduction of segment cost of operations, which offsets the amounts paid. Prior to the adoption of “EITF 02-16,” interchange received on signature debit card transactions was included in Network Services segment revenue. Concord management elected to proactively adopt the provisions of “EITF 02-16” in the fourth quarter of 2002 rather than wait till January 1st.

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Sears Impact

While the universe of potential suitors for the Sears MasterCard portfolio is very limited, it could boost the ranking of some issuers and could shift share at the network level. For example, an acquisition by a reinvigorated Bank One would enable it to unseat the slower-growing MBNA as the second largest U.S. issuer, and could potentially enable VISA to regain its #1 position in the credit card market. Bank One currently has $74 billion in outstandings and MBNA has about $80.0 billion. At year-end 2002, the Sears MasterCard portfolio held $12.3 billion in outstandings. If Bank One migrated the portfolio to VISA cards, it would re-establish VISA’s dominance in credit cards. MasterCard currently has an 8.6 million account lead over VISA in the U.S. credit card market. MasterCard also currently holds 8.5 million more credit cards than VISA. At the end of 4Q/02, Sears had more than 20 million accounts and nearly 30 million cards. Other potential buyers of the Sears MasterCard portfolio include Citigroup, Chase, Bank of America, and HSBC/Household.

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MEI EASITRAX

USA Technologies announced it will showcase three new ways for vending operators and consumer product companies to realize the benefits of cash-less vending at the Spring NAMA (National Automatic Merchandisers Association) Expo tradeshow, March 27-29 in Las Vegas. The company is leading the way to firmly establish cash-less payment as a new form of payment and revenue growth in the vending industry. This year at the NAMA Spring Expo, USA Technologies will be showcasing the next generation of the e-Port service plan, the MEI EASITRAX cash-less solution, as well as the newly revamped business model of the Kodak vending program in an effort to help vending operators increase their revenues.

The next generation of the e-Port(TM) service plan will make it even easier and more cost effective for vending operators to offer their customers the option to use credit cards. Based on actual results from USA Technologies’ current vending customer base, vending operators can increase their sales by 15 to 25 percent just by offering a credit card option.

“We are very excited about the new e-Port(TM) service plan. As always, we are working to make our customers in the vending industry more profitable,” commented Michael Lawlor, Senior VP of Business Development for USA Technologies. “The new e-Port(TM) service plan, coupled with the fact that our current customers are seeing a 15 to 25 percent increase in sales, keeps us on strategy to help our customers increase their revenue potential. Now we are able to offer our customers a product that can be paid for by just increasing their sales by 45 cents a day. That’s less then the price of selling one additional soft drink or snack every other day.

“The MEI EASITRAX(TM) cash-less solution will also be demonstrated at the Expo. MEI and USA Technologies are co-marketing credit card payment systems with associated credit card services. By combining MEI EASITRAX(TM) vending management software, MEI CASHFLOW(TM) series 6000 cardreader, USA Technologies’ wireless payment processing technology and MEI EASITRAX(TM) remote data port, operators will have the first comprehensive cash-less solution and complete vending management capability in the industry.

“Working with USA Technologies allows MEI to offer our customers another payment option to capture more sales,” commented Mary Rampe, director of sales, US Vending for MEI. “With credit and check cards being the fastest growing payment methods sought by consumers, we are enabling our vending clients to best meet these changing market demands with reliable and proven solutions.”

Cash-less vending allows for higher price items to be vended and has allowed several consumer product companies, like Eastman Kodak, to develop new distribution channels for its products. USA Technologies has formed a relationship with Kodak and now offers revenue-sharing opportunities for vending operators to participate in the Kodak programs. The program will be shown at the Expo and offers vending operators the ability to place machines that sell one-time-use cameras and film, with their existing accounts. The revenue sharing program is lucrative and there is no or little cost to the operator to participate.

“We have seen some great successes since recently opening the Kodak program to third party operators,” said Erika Bender, director of sales for the Kodak Vending Program. “It is a natural fit for vending operators who can easily place these machines in their existing accounts and immediately start generating profits.”

With credit cards the preferred payment of consumers, USA Technologies has become the leader in wireless, cash-less transaction processing solutions for the $40 billion vending industry. According to the December 2002 issue of the Nilson Report, the company is processing 90 percent all credit card transactions and 97 percent of the total credit dollars spent in the vending industry.

Individuals or corporations seeking further information regarding the benefits of cash-less vending are invited to attend a panel discussion at the NAMA Spring Expo at 9:30 am, Thursday, March 27, which will be lead by USA Technologies.

About USA Technologies:

USA Technologies is a leader in wireless non-cash and m-commerce transactions, associated financial/network services and interactive media technology. USA Technologies provides networked credit card and other non-cash/mobile commerce systems in the vending, commercial laundry, hospitality and digital imaging industries. USA Technologies is an IBM Business Partner and an inaugural member of the Sprint Enabling Application Service Provider Program for e-commerce. The Company has marketing agreements with the IBM Corporation and MEI and the ZiLOG Corporation. Maytag Corporation is an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) partner and minority investor in USA Technologies. .

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Cubic Promotes Purcell

Steve Purcell has been named senior vice president of Contracts for Cubic Transportation Systems Inc., a subsidiary of San Diego-based Cubic Corp.. Purcell joined Cubic in 1999 and has more than 25 years of contracts experience in international, government and commercial contract management and compliance, with an emphasis on performance issues, intellectual property rights, and licensing and teaming agreements.

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CYOTA VBV

NY-based Cyota continues to secure its lead as the top “Verified by Visa” provider. This morning, Computer Services selected Cyota to provide “VbV” to its nearly 500 customer banks. CSI will launch Cyota’s “SecureSuite Processor Edition” as a hosted service for its clients. To date, Cyota supports “VbV’ for over 9,000 financial institutions, with “SecureSuite” in use by seven of the top 12 US and UK credit and debit card issuers as well as top global processors. Earlier this month, Japan’s UFJ Card selected Cyota to provide the “VbV” service for its seven million cardholders. UFJ Card’s “VbV” program is the first large scale commercial implementations of VISA’s new program in Japan. (CF Library 3/17/03)

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AmEx Volume

American Express provided more details this week on its 2002 gross dollar volume performance. According to the AmEx 10-K, the company’s U.S. billed business rose 4% last year, reflecting 8% growth within the consumer card business (on 10% higher transaction volume), 4% growth in small business services volume, and a 3% decline within Corporate Services. U.S. non-T&E related volume categories (which represented approximately 63% of U.S. billed business during 2002) grew 9% versus last year while U.S. T&E volumes declined 2%. Worldwide airline related volume declined 6% on a single-digit decline in the average airline charge and flat transaction volumes. Also the continuing decline in the discount rate reflects the cumulative impact of stronger than average growth in the lower rate retail and other “everyday spend” merchant categories such as supermarkets, discounters, etc. The average AmEx discount rate has declined from 2.70% in 2000, to 2.64% in 2002. Last year AmEx’s total was $234.1 billion in the USA and $77.3 billion outside the USA. For complete details on AmEx’s latest performance visit CardData ([www.cardata.com][1]).

[1]: http://www.cardata.com

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ASK SMART LABELS

Paris-based ASK S.A. has entered the RFID tagging market with the introduction of the “C.label” family of contactless paper-based smart label products. ASK is the first company to achieve commercial production of a paper-based contactless smart label. The first product in the “C.label” family is based on the high speed “ISO 14443” for contactless technology, it is the only smart label that permits the management of 100 items a second and anti-theft
protection ranging as far as one meter. ASK is a specialist in contactless smart cards for automated fare collection systems. The company estimates the RFID tagging market will grow to more than $10 billion by 2010.

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Parking Payments

Schlumberger Smart Cards and Terminals has delivered solar-powered “Pay & Display” multi-space parking terminals to the City of Miami. The “Stelio” and “DGLine” terminal package includes the new “ParkfolioWeb” service. “ParkfolioWeb” enables the city to monitor its parking terminals with a PC equipped with an Internet connection and a standard browser. Credit card transactions are collected on-line, equipment status and alarms are reported in real time, and all financial and statistical information is permanently available via dynamic reports. Schlumberger systems control more than two million parking spaces in more than 3,000 cities and 40 countries. The company currently has an installed base of over 5,000 units controlling over 100,000 spaces in cities across the US and Canada.

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ICICI COPC-2000

One of India’s top third-party business process outsourcing services providers and a member company of ICICI Bank, India’s largest private sector bank, has become the world’s first company to achieve “COPC-2000 CSP Certification” for back office processing. ICICI OneSource, with offshore facilities in Mumbai and Bangalore, and international business development offices in New York and London, offers outsourced contact center and transaction processing operations offshore for US and UK-based companies. The COPC certification was developed in 1995/96 by individuals from Microsoft, Motorola, Dell, American Express, L.L. Bean and other customer-focused companies seeking to standardize the level of service quality provided by CSP organizations and is recognized worldwide as the leading standard of excellence for customer contact and fulfillment centers.

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